Contact Sharing Rules do not grant users access to Contacts as expected.
|Knowledge Article Number||000004005|
We have created a Contact Sharing Rule, however it is not giving users access to Contact records as expected.
Check your Organization Wide Default for Contacts under Setup | Security Controls | Sharing Settings. If Contact Sharing is set to "Controlled by parent", then sharing access to Contacts is controlled by access to the related Account record.
When Contact Sharing is set to "Controlled by parent", Contacts may not be shared independently from Accounts, so Contact Sharing Rules are not applied (even if they are defined).
To address this you can either set up an Account sharing rule to share the Accounts the Contacts are related to, or you can change the Org Wide Default for Contacts to a value other than "Controlled by parent" ('Private' or 'Public Read-Only', for example) so that the Contact Sharing Rules will apply.
NOTE: Changes to Organization Wide Defaults can only be made by System Administrators.